Associational interactions between urban trees: Are native neighbors better than non-natives?

  • Published source details Clem C.S. & Held D.W. (2018) Associational interactions between urban trees: Are native neighbors better than non-natives?. Environmental Entomology, 47, 881-889.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant parks, gardens and road verges with appropriate native species

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Plant parks, gardens and road verges with appropriate native species

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2014–2015 at a research farm in Alabama, USA (Clem & Held 2018) found that planted native trees supported a greater abundance and species richness of moth caterpillars than non-native trees. The abundance (260–281 individuals/year) and species richness (17 species) of moth caterpillars on planted native red maple Acer rubrum was higher than on non-native Norway maple Acer platanoides (abundance: 98–102 individuals/year; richness: 10 species) and crepe myrtle Lagerstroemia indica (abundance: 8 individuals/year; richness: 3 species/year). In March 2014, a native red maple was planted in the centre of each of 28 plots (5 × 5 m, 15 m apart) and surrounded by four further trees (3.5 m away) in one of four randomly assigned treatments: native red maples, non-native Norway maples, non-native crepe myrtles, or no trees. Herbicide was applied monthly, exposed ground covered with pine straw at the beginning of each season and nitrogen fertilizer applied to each tree in April and August each year. From June–September 2014, and May–September 2015, caterpillars were surveyed twice a month on the central maple and one neighbouring tree in each plot. All caterpillars on 30 leaves in each of four cardinal directions were counted.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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